17th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

17th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival


Period of implementation of the project: 



In 2019, it was the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. With this international treaty, the United Nations agreed to introduce a human rights approach in the member states’ policies regarding children, increasing their legal agency. However, our country, Ukraine, continues to declare “protecting childhood” as its strategic priority. A child is viewed as an object of protection rather than an agent with rights, which is directly reflected in legislation and government policies.

Therefore, in order to raise the population’s awareness of human rights and to cover the topic of equal opportunities and rights for children in a complex way, we chose children’s rights as the framework topic of the online 17th Docudays UA festival (with the brand name Teen Spirit).

The second key task (given the strict quarantine during which the online festival took place) was also to support the spirits and unity of the residents of Ukraine.


In cooperation with organizations working in children’s interests, we determined 5 key subtopics which were explored comprehensively during the festival:

  • children’s rights under an armed conflict;
  • protecting children’s rights in a situation of violence and exploitation;
  • upholding human rights with regard to children of drug users and children living with HIV;
  • ensuring the rights of orphaned children and children who are wards of care institutions;
  • the rights of children from groups that suffer from discrimination.

Our main and most powerful tool for promoting change is, in our opinion, documentary cinema. Everybody knows how this art form can have a deep emotional effect. 

In March 2020, 10 days before the announced start of the 17th Docudays UA festival, when we had completed all the preparations, the quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic started. So at first we had to postpone the festival, and then, essentially within four weeks, we transformed it into an online format. As a result, the Festival became the first online film festival in Ukraine, which took place on 24 April–10 May 2020. The team managed to preserve the key valuable components of the traditional festival:

  • film screenings in the DOCUSPACE online cinema;
  • live online events with human rights advocates, representatives of the international and Ukrainian film industry, and film authors and critics;
  • the living library and our special programme for teenagers, DOCU/CAMP;
  • accessibility of events and screenings: films with audio descriptions and adapted subtitles, sign language interpretation of human rights events;
  • large-scale coverage of events in the media space.

The 17th DocudaysUA online festival achieved impressive results which are described below.


  • 45 online events watched over 120,000 times: 93 interactive live hours between the participants and the audience, of which 24 hours were at the Living Library.
  • Our DOCUSPACE online cinema gave access to 4,434 minutes of free-of-charge relevant documentaries: 70 documentary films from 32 countries. 14,668 unique users watched the festival films 55,844 times.
  • Over 185,000 visits of the DOCUSPACE online cinema and 619,000 visits of festival pages.
  • 20 human rights events conducted within the festival were watched 95,529 times and involved 112 participants.
  • We welcomed virtual visits by 210 guests from 29 countries, particularly Belgium, Germany, China, Canada, Greece, Georgia, US, Finland, Thailand, etc.
  • 331 materials about the 17th Docudays UA festival were published in various media before and during the festival, including 312 online publications, 19 television stories, 15 radio programmes and 4 printed press publications.

Moreover, going online allowed us to make the festival even more accessible and reach new audiences, such as parents with small children (who would find it problematic to access screenings in cinemas for many seances), people with disabilities (wheelchair users, people with visual and hearing impairments). Within the online Docudays UA, there were 3 films with audio descriptions, 73 films with descriptive subtitles and 19 human rights events with sign language interpretation.

Category: Covid-19

Company: Non-governmental Organization “Docudays”

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About the company: 

In the 22 years of its existence, NGO Docudays has gained a large-scale national scope, and now it is also actively strengthening its role at the international level. We implement a number of sectoral and cross-cultural projects both in Ukraine and abroad, reaching over 200,000 people every year.

Sustainable Development Goals



Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine

Delegation of the EU to Ukraine

National Endowment for Democracy

US Embassy in Ukraine

Embassy of Canada in Ukraine

Ukrainian State Film Agency

Ukrainian Institute

British Council


Institute Francais

Austrian Cultural Forum

Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine

Polish Institute